Updated: New Melanoma Drug Shows Promise In Trial, But Questions About Effectiveness Remain

The gist: Earlier this month we posted about promising results from a clinical trial testing a new treatment called PV-10. Now, an oncologist who was not involved in the research has told a Forbes reporter that the results may not be as promising as they sound.

“A new cancer drug benefited 51% of stage III and IV melanoma patients during a phase II trial, achieving complete response (total cancer disappearance) in 26% during the treatment period. That was all in just 16 weeks of treatment, and would seem to suggest this drug, being developed by a small company ignored by Wall Street, has potential for treating certain cancers in the future.

“But an independent oncologist not associated with the trial says that the results may not be so impressive after all, based on the data from the published study.

John Glaspy, an oncology professor at UCLA, says that ‘it’s not clear’ whether the result are important. If they are talking about lesions that were not directly injected with the drug, the results would be meaningful. ‘If they are talking about the injected lesion, not so much,’ Glaspy says.

“When asked about it, he repeated: ‘Like I said, these SQ melanomas are an indolent disease, and it is not a big deal if you inject them and they regress.  I don’t think you have any evidence that anybody is cured.’ “